Pakistan needs to tap renewable energy potential for sustained growth

April 24, 2024

 Amir Saeed

Pakistan, which has a negligent share of renewable energy sources in the power mix, desperately needs to tap the green energy potential to boost economic growth, enhance investments and eliminate poverty. Currently, Pakistan’s renewable energy accounts for only 6.8% of its total installed capacity. Speaking to WealthPK, Munawar Bashir, former managing director of now defunct Pakistan Electric Power Company (Private) Limited, said that Pakistan could potentially generate approximately 100,000MW of solar power alone. “Pakistan has not appropriately utilised its renewable energy potential when it comes to adequately powering lights for its homes, machinery for its factories and stoves for its kitchens.” Bashir further said that the grave energy crisis was the result of flawed policies over the years, high cost of generation and outdated and inefficient transmission system. “Due to the energy crisis, underdeveloped areas of Pakistan are unable to get reliable and affordable power.”

“Pakistan needs to uplift underdeveloped and marginalised areas and align them with the rest to achieve fair and balanced socioeconomic development. It is important to make a quick shift to renewable energy sources such as wind, biogas and solar,” he said, adding that Pakistan had a total renewable energy potential of about 167.7GW. Talking to WealthPK, Sohail Lashari, chief of a company providing solar panels, said Pakistan should tap its huge potential in renewable energy sources to ensure cheap power to far-off areas and help them contribute to the country’s economic growth. “It is time to develop and promote cost-effective local renewable energy sources to reduce the imports of high-cost fossil fuels for electricity generation. Pakistan can greatly reduce electricity tariffs by exploiting indigenous sources such as hydel, solar, wind and biogas.”

He asked the government to encourage both local and foreign companies to manufacture solar panels and other equipment of renewable energy to fully utilise the country’s potential in this segment. Sohail pointed out that Pakistan had estimated hydropower potential of 60,000MW, but it was currently utilising only one-fifth of it. He said the availability of abundant sunlight could be utilised to tackle the chronic energy crisis. “A long-term energy policy is needed with obvious goals, targets and clear objectives. Public-private partnerships can be sought to leverage expertise and attract investments from the private sector in this regard.”

Credit: INP-WealthPk